Naomi Campbell with the late Azzedine Alaïa.

Naomi Campbell paid tribute to the late Azzedine Alaïa at The Fashion Awards 2017, which saw her hail him as her protector.

The couturier tragically passed away last month aged 77, and at the annual bash, which took place at London's Royal Albert Hall on Monday (04.12.17), the 47-year-old supermodel gushed about the fashion designer - who she lived with when she was 16 years old and referred to him as papa - and hailed him as a "generous, kind, compassionate and humble man". 

Model Naomi Campbell poses upon arrival at The British Fashion Awards 2017. (AP Photo/ Joel C Ryan)

Speaking at the event, she said: "Everyone in this room knows that Azzedine was able to transform a woman's body into something special; make you look great and still like a woman. He captured the essence of femininity. But beyond his work as a designer, from the second day I met him, he became my papa. 

"He was the most generous, kind, compassionate and humble man I have ever known, with a mischievous sense of humour in the glint of his eye, and he filled my life - and the lives of the women on this stage, and all of you in the room who met him - with light and joy. I moved into his home at 16 and he opened my eyes to the world: to artists, art and design, architecture, French and Tunisian culture. How blessed was I to have papa show me these different worlds?"

Naomi continued to praise Azzedine, as she hailed him as the only male in her life who "understood" her, and "protected" her in "every way possible". 

She said: "There is no man who understood me like him, or who saw me in the way that he did. Always when I was with him he would make me feel like my 16-year-old self - and without him, I wouldn't be the woman I am today. 

"He protected me in every way possible - even when I was attacked in Paris in 2012, papa came rushing out to stand in front of my attacker while I was pulled to safety. Azzedine was a protector, a teacher, a seeker and defender of all that is good and positive in this world. I am proud to be honouring, along with his daughters, a giant of fashion and a true master of humanity."